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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Georgian spiced grilled lamb and chicken

Don't let all those "back to school" specials get you down - it's still grilling season! Light up your grill (or if you must, heat up your oven), invite a few friends over, and travel (so to speak) to the far away land of Georgia with our shish kabob and dry adjika blends.

The shish kabob spice, a blend of utskho suneli, fennel, Georgian bay leaf, dill, dry garlic, coriander, red pepper, and salt, goes quite splendidly on, well, kabobs. But if the thought of cubing up hunks of meat is too much to bear, than you'll be happy to know that you can just rub this blend onto lamb chops. 

Likewise, the dry adjika (a blend of utskho suneli (blue fenugreek), fennel, Georgian bay leaf, dry garlic, coriander, red pepper, and salt) adds just the right kick to grilled chicken legs. 

Georgian Grilled Lamb and Chicken Legs

For the lamb:
4 teaspoons shish kabob blend
2 teaspoons salt
4 lamb chops (preferably loin chops), cut about 1 1/2 inches thick

For the chicken:
2 teaspoons dry adjika 
4 skin-on chicken legs

For the lamb: 40 minutes before you're going to start grilling, rub a half teaspoon of the shish kabob blend and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt on each side of the lamb chops. Let sit at room temperature while you prepare the chicken. 

For the chicken: Distribute the adjika evenly over the chicken legs, rubbing the spice in with your fingers. The blend is already salty enough for my taste, so I'd only add salt after cooking. Let the chicken sit at room temperature while you prepare your grill (or your other side dishes, like grilled veggies sprinkled with utskho suneli) or a yogurt-feta sauce to go with some pita that you just happen to have on hand.

For the grilling: I'm going to now admit that I generally just light up the charcoal grill, let it get hot, and cook my food until it's done how I like it. But, if you want more of a detailed method and a very good guide to grilling lamb chops, I turn you over to this post from Serious Eats

To grill the chicken legs, I like to use a hot part of the grill and a less-hot part of the grill (or, in more technical terms, a two-zone direct fire). Sear the legs over the hot part, turning every 30 seconds or so until evenly seared, then move the legs over the less-hot part, cooking covered (with the vents open) and turning occasionally, until the chicken is done. (A meat thermometer should read 165 degrees, or you can poke the chicken with a knife and check that the meat is white and not rubbery-looking.) This can take between 10 and 15 minutes, depending on the size of the legs.

Once your done grilling both meats, let them rest for 10 minutes before digging in. I know you just want to gobble it all down, but the juices need to redistribute throughout the meat. Trust me on this.

Yield: 4 servings

This post is part of our series on Georgia cuisine. For others in the series check out:

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